DC United only has one pick in today’s MLS SuperDraft, so they better make it count. Last year, United got solid contributors with all of its picks in both the SuperDraft and the Supplemental draft: a key starter in Perry Kitchen, and quality role players in Joe Willis, Chris Korb, and Blake Brettschneider. This year, however, United has only one pick in the two round SuperDraft and three picks in the four round Supplemental Draft. Both of the picks that are missing this year were traded for players who are not currently on the team’s roster. United traded their second round pick this year in the trade for Jed Zayner, currently out of contract but invited to camp, and traded their first round supplemental pick this year in the 2009 trade for Julius James, currently a starter for the Columbus Crew.
All of that said, it will be their pick at the top of the draft that defines whether it is a success or a failure. United will certainly be looking to get a Generation adidas player, and hopefully they can pull off a coup similar to the one that netted them Perry Kitchen. There are four players that I have seen most often projected to be taken by DC United: UNC midfielder Enzo Martinez, Creighton fullback Tyler Polak, UCSB midfielder Luis Silva, and Maryland forward Casey Townsend. Black and Red United have done some nice profiles of these players (and more!), so I recommend you check them out if you haven’t already.
Martinez and Silva are both attacking midfielders, which is not a position of dire need for United. Dwayne DeRosario and Branko Boskovic will begin the season as the top two on the depth chart at the position, with both of them likely to start, if healthy. However, Boskovic’s contract only runs through the middle of the summer, and the options in center midfield drop off after those two players. Martinez is the Generation adidas player, meaning he would cost less, but Travis Clark considers Silva the more MLS ready of two and the one who is ready to fight for a starting spot now. United obviously needs the more MLS ready player now, and so I would prefer Silva over Martinez.
Tyler Polak is another name that has been linked to United. He is a fullback out of Creighton, who usually plays left back and was one of the catalysts for his team. However, he has not had a very good Combine and that seems to have made his draft stock slip somewhat. He is another member of the Generation adidas class and United do need a left back to challenge or supplant Daniel Woolard; I like Woolard as a spot starter, but United need some more offensive potential out of the left back position. Even though he hasn’t had the best Combine, I would have no problem with United taking Polak.
Finally, mlssoccer.com’s mock draft projects United to take Casey Townsend, a forward out of Maryland. He is not a stereotypical target forward, but more a goal poacher who is also good in the air. He scored 17 goals and notched two assists for Maryland this year, and has 43 goals in his college career. Unlike the rest of the top forwards in the draft pool, Townsend will likely still be on the board at number 7. United badly need a finisher other than DeRo, and it looks like Townsend is the best one in the draft. While I would be happy with any of the other players selected, the one that I want the most is Casey Townsend.